Causes, Signs and Treatment of Yeast Infection in Women
Yeast Infection in Women : Looking for Information to Solve A Yeast Infection?
There are three types of yeast infection women have to be aware of. The most common is vaginal yeast infection. It is also at times referred to as genital yeast infection because it can also happen to men. The second most common is yeast infection in the mouth. It is also known as oral thrush.
The third type is not as common. It is generally referred to as yeast infection. It can affect any part of the body but the outbreak usually happens on and around the shoulders, in the armpits and may stretch to the back.
Primary Cause of Yeast Infection in Women
It is necessary to understand the microbial composition and the environment inside the vagina to have a bit of clarity why and how yeast infections happen in women. Vagina has a pH of around 3.5 to 4.5. This is a healthy pH range, what the environment should ideally be. The vagina has a basic or alkaline medium. It is not acidic and should not be so. This pH level is maintained by hormones, the microbes thriving in the vagina, blood circulation and also personal hygiene. The pH level of blood is 7.4. The pH level of semen ranges between 7.1 and 8. Many sanitary and personal hygiene products have a pH level exceeding 5 and at times 6.
Since almost all matter that a vagina can and does get to interact with has a higher pH than the natural environment, there is always a likelihood of the pH level in the vaginal tract increasing beyond the upper limit of the ideal range, which is 4.5.
If the vaginal tract becomes less alkaline and even close to the neutral point, which is 7, there is a chance of excessive growth of microbes. Some microorganisms are good for the vagina. Lactobacillus is a good bacterium and it can also check the growth of many fungi. It specifically regulates the growth of Candida albicans. This is the fungus that is the primary cause of vaginal yeast infection in women.
If there is a dip in the quantum of lactobacilli, if the pH level rises up as is common during sex, menstruation and exposure to unhealthy products or if there is a hormonal imbalance, then Candida albicans can thrive and an outbreak will lead to yeast infection in women. Unfortunately, hormonal imbalance, decreasing count of lactobacilli and increasing pH level can happen simultaneously. It only worsens the vaginal environment and makes it ideal for Candida albicans to thrive.
Other Yeast Infection in Women Causes
Yeast infection in women is caused by fungi but there are additional factors that may facilitate the outbreak or worsen the condition. Hormonal imbalance may be limited to estrogen. It may include other hormones too. The overall health of a person, age, lifestyle, diet, personal hygiene and sex life can affect hormones. Use of contraceptives can cause change in the vaginal environment. Menopause, pregnancy and nursing also have effects on hormones. Some women have their first yeast infection while pregnant.
Special care should be taken during pregnancy as hormonal imbalance is unpreventable. Hormonal imbalance is also necessary during pregnancy. This is the natural process of conceiving, nourishing a fetus and then birthing a child. A random yeast infection women treatment should not be tried during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
There are a few other causes of yeast infection in women. High blood sugar makes a woman more vulnerable to overgrowth of fungi in the vagina. Diabetes and especially cases where glucose levels are unchecked can lead to an increase in the sugar content in the mucus membranes inside the vagina. The mucus membranes are the soft and moist linings inside the vaginal tract. As sugar levels rise, yeasts and other microorganisms thrive. Excessive sugar may also neutralize some of the good bacteria.
Medications can also cause problems, especially antibiotics. Using sprays and excessive douches can lead to an overgrowth of fungi in the vagina. Immunity also has a role to play. Yeast or other fungi are not sexually transmitted but they are still contagious. So it is possible to contract fungi through sexual intercourse or oral sex.
Yeast Infection Symptoms in Women
The signs of yeast infection in women depend on the type and affected part of the body. Yeast infection symptoms in women are very different in case of an oral thrush compared to the signs of a vaginal outbreak. The most common signs of yeast infection in women if it is a vaginal outbreak are itchiness, irritation, redness, swelling, discomfort and a burning sensation. These can be felt in the vagina and also the vulva. The vulva is the outer genital part. Sex can be painful. Urinating can be painful. Most women have a white discharge. It is an odorless thick discharge from the vagina but it may also smell at times.
The signs of yeast infection in women if it is oral thrush or on other parts of the body are itching and irritation. There may not be any swelling. Oral thrush will have small white patches inside the mouth. These may turn red. There may not be any discharge as such. Severe cases may have some burning sensations in the mouth, especially when consuming certain foods or drinks.
It should be noted that some yeast infection symptoms in women are similar to the signs of bacterial vaginosis. Yeast infection is fungal. Bacterial vaginosis is caused by a bacterium. Bacterial vaginosis is a result of excessive bad bacteria. Just as a dip in good bacteria removes the check on the growth of fungi, it can also lead to an overgrowth of bad bacteria that also reside inside the vagina.
Growth of bad bacteria can increase the pH and hence this also makes it easier for them and other microorganisms to grow and thrive. Bacterial vaginosis also has symptoms like redness and itchiness. It also causes a yogurt or paste like discharge. Bacterial vaginosis usually has a fishy smell.
Vaginal yeast infection can be odorless and the discharge may smell like bear or bread. The difference between the two is essential as you should not just conclude you have a vaginal yeast infection when it could be actually bacterial vaginosis. Then a yeast infection women treatment will not work and can make bacterial vaginosis worse.
Yeast Infection Women Treatment
There are two types of yeast infection women treatment. One is the prescription route wherein you can get antifungal creams and certain medications. You may also have to undergo certain tests before you get prescribed a definitive treatment.
The other option is to opt for natural yeast infection women treatment. Antifungal creams are also available over the counter so you do not really need to see a doctor. However, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should always see their gynecologist before trying any yeast infection women treatment. This may be the first outbreak or a recurring infection, pregnancy and nursing complicate the scenario and a random remedy should not be endorsed.
If you are not pregnant or breastfeeding, then you can always rely on yeast infection women treatment at home. You can use boric acid, tea tree oil, coconut oil, oregano oil, multivitamins, yogurt and probiotic supplements or suppositories.
You can use more than one remedy at the same time but not of the exact nature of application. Yeast infection women treatment should not be limited to a remedy. Lifestyle, hygiene and dietary changes are also crucial, unless all three are impeccable without a doubt.